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Sunday, November 17, 2013

The End... for now

Our infertility journey has come to a bit of a halt and so much has happened in the last few months.

{1} We have stopped the foster/adoption process.

The licensing company we were going through told us that in order to go further with the process we both would need to become Michigan residents. Now, active duty are exempt from this rule and protected by federal law that says we get to keep our home state of residency for everything. All we'd have to do is call up Coast Guard legal and fight this thing and we could win. But who wants to go through a legal battle? Not I. After much discussion, Crockett & I decided to just postpone all this until we move to the next state. We are only here for another year to year and a half and by the time we got through all the red tape we would not have very long here.

{2} We have also stopped all fertility treatments.

This one is easy to sum up: the doctors in this small, remote town are INSANE. After getting so many conflicting and confusing feedback from the OB here I decided that if I did become pregnant I did NOT want this man to deliver my baby. He is a fool. He told me I did not need to get tested while taking Clomid to see if it was working and that we could just trust it would. He told me based on my one blood test that I was in fact ovulating and he did not feel we needed to investigate that further. Then, nine months later, he tells me we should have been testing during Clomid the whole time and upon looking at the one blood test that he had already seen, he said my levels were low and perhaps I wasn't ovulating after all. He wasted 9 months of my time. He also is the one who freaked me out saying I could die if I got pregnant and then sent me to a specialist who laughed and said there wasn't a chance of that happening.

{3} I've stopped tracking ovulation.

Basically I'm done. I've handed over this whole motherhood thing to God and said, "When it happens, it happens." He doesn't need doctors, medicine, procedures, or tracking ovulation to create life. If he wants life in me, he'll make it happen. When we move (approx. Jan 2015) I'll start over with a new fertility specialist and we'll go from there, but for now I'm taking a well deserved break. I gotta say, it is so nice not to stress each cycle. I just expect to not be pregnant and my hopes are never up or crushed. There's no pressure and I'm lovin it.

{4} We are loving life in Michigan.

I know that sounds weird. But Crockett got moved into a new section at work over the summer and at first we were kinda sad because we liked the people he worked with before. [The way the schedules are set, the crew he works with is also the crew who is off when he is. Therefore, the only people he even has the option of hanging out with outside of work are the people in his section who he works with.] Well, in this new crew are 3 other married couples who we've gotten to know a lot better and had a blast with. We've gone camping, had tons of bonfires, and overall great times with them. The station also got a LOT of new people this summer and 3 of the ladies and I started a small group Bible study which has been great. I truly feel like we now have a community. :) God is so good!

Summer in Michigan was awesome. Lots of beach time, camping, & spending time outside in the non-humid, 70 degree gorgeousness.

{5} I got a job!

As of September I am a Health Educator for District Health Department #2. I love it! I teach an abstinence program to 7th graders across the district as a guest speaker during their health class for a span of 10 lessons. I'm working full time, but making enough money to get ahead of debt & go home once a month. This is the answer to prayer I was looking for.

{6} We found a church!

It's in Saginaw which is an hour and a half away, but after a complete spiritual melt down we decided it was worth it. So now every Sunday we make the drive (with some awesome friends) and enjoy some good worship, gospel teaching, & great fellowship.

Winter is well on it's way again here in north Michigan. We've already had a few flurries & the brutal cold winds are here to stay. A couple weekends ago we got all stocked up for our {hopefully} last northern winter! The Christmas tree went up on Nov. 12 & we're looking forward to Thanksgiving. Crockett has to work, but the new cook at the station is outstanding and he's preparing Thanksgiving lunch for all the families to come in and share. Then a few of us wives are headed to a friend's house to have a great time together. These women truly have become my second family. I'm so thankful & so blessed.

Monday, June 17, 2013

An Unbaby Update

Sometimes I get so wrapped up in becoming a mother that I forget to talk about, brag about, or relish in the other things going on in my life so here is a non-adoption/baby update.

Living in Michigan is still not easy, but God is providing some fantastic things to remind me that He is just as present here as anywhere else and I can feel him wooing me here in this moment. The weather has started to get really beautiful and although I'm not any closer to my family than I was and my heart still aches for them constantly, I'm trying so hard to be positive and enjoy my time here. What I don't want is my time in Michigan to be over and then I look back and say, "I spent 3 years of my life just waiting to be done." How awful is that? I want to live and love and be in this moment. I'm in my mid 20's and my husband and I don't have kids. We can do things a lot of people wish they had the time or ability to do. Why not have as much fun as possible and be all that God has called me to be no matter where I am?

We're now on our 2nd church and although the preaching is still not theologically what we know to be truth 100% of the time we are making it a much higher priority to get involved and be the truth we see lacking. Instead of finding a church that fits us we are going to try to help the areas that need strengthening. Isn't that what the body of Christ is all about after all, working together to build each other up? We are moving in 2 weeks and when we get to the new place we will probably look for a local church there to get involved with.

WE'RE MOVING IN 2 WEEKS! Not anywhere far, but hey, moving is moving. We're going about 14 miles south, from Oscoda to East Tawas. Tawas is where Crockett works and it houses the WalMart and all my doctors. Some people have scoffed when I mention the WalMart factor, but yes, when you live in a town this small you do want to be close to the only store you shop at for everything.

As of now I still plan to work at Oscoda High School as a part-time secretary next year so I'll be commuting, but the house we're moving into is relatively close to the same size as our current one and will save us $2,700/year in rent! I think it's worth it. I have applied at 3 different school districts and one of them is Tawas. If I get the Tawas position (4th grade) Crockett and I both will be working 5 minutes from home so we'll be saving all that rent $$ plus gas $$! I'm super excited about this possibility as gas was $4.20 last week. I also applied at a district about an hour and a half south of here which would require us to move again should I get it. The good news is we'd move to the closest big city which means restaurants and shopping and a reformed church. The bad news is between the shopping and the restaurants and Crockett commuting 1.5 hrs one way there goes all that $$. In the wise words of the Giff, "Ya win some, ya lose some." (For the record, the 3rd district I applied at was right here in Oscoda, but due to my certification not being completely finalized they decided not to consider me. My certification would have been final one week after they were hoping to make their decision. I'm just taking this as God closing a door.)

I PASSED BOTH MY MICHIGAN CERTIFICATION TESTS!! I am now officially hirable. :) Technically I have been since November as my temporary doesn't expire until Nov 2013, but most districts like to see that you'll be certified throughout the entire school year. So now I am. I am praying and hoping that God will lead me to a teaching job, but am also praying that I would have peace no matter where He places me. I have never wanted a job so bad in my life as I do now. I worked so hard for so long to be a teacher and I am SO ready to put all my knowledge and ideas into practice, but I need to be content in my position and seek how God wants to use me. It's a daily struggle and I need constant reminders. I am hopeful and I am trusting in His plan.

Which brings me to April. April is not her name, but to be as nice as possible I won't use her real name. April has been nothing but a thorn in my side since I met her. She has been rude, a bully, a bossy know-it-all, and hurtful and I have been trying so hard to love her. She makes my job difficult. She complains about me to my bosses about STUPID stuff and although my bosses acknowledge that it's petty and tell me not to worry, it is difficult to say the least to spend several hours with someone who makes you want to run away from them. (The most difficult part is keeping my mouth shut because I am not the only one who has a hard time working with April and it would be so easy for me to join in the gossip about her, especially when I know she falsely gossips about me.) I truly believe God has placed me with April for a reason. She is not a Christian and I know God is calling me to show her love and be Christ to her. I pray often for the strength to be nice and for the words to say. I want the Holy Spirit to use me as a tool to soften her heart. I want her to see the hope that I have in spite of her negativity and I want her to credit that to something bigger than myself. Today I was able to talk a little bit about my faith to her and another co-worker and I really hope God planted some seeds. In the middle of our conversation April had to help someone who came into the office and I took that time to pray that God would guide the words I spoke next and use them to witness to her. If nothing else, she was a little nicer to me after hearing me talk about my infertility struggle and how I view it as God's mercy for allowing me to be drawn to Him rather than Him allowing me to get everything I ever wanted and have no need for Him. :)

I started running!!! But then I had to stop... :/ For 2 weeks I ran around our neighborhood 4-5 times a week and was just starting to desire running each day and could feel it getting easier and starting to see some results in my stomach area when I injured myself. -.- Now I have gone 5 days without running and I feel gross. I miss how great I felt after a run. Dr. Hubby says I need to wait for my knee to heal completely because the first time I noticed it hurting I pushed myself and the next day made it 1,000 times worse. I cannot wait to be better and out there again. Maybe all it took was moving to Michigan where I can run in 68 degree weather with no humidity to finally be a runner. ;)

For 4 weeks I got to teach Language Arts intervention to 6 first graders after school and it was wonderful. I loved every minute of preparing lessons and teaching. It was such a refreshing thing to step out of filing and answering phones and back into my comfort zone. Teaching is home for me. It's where I feel most confident. It's where I know I've been called and I'm still so thankful God gave me that little breath of fresh air. I'm going to miss those kiddos.

One thing that has remained constant in my life is how amazing God has been to me. I have no reason to be this blessed and yet I am. I have an amazing marriage to my very best friend. We laugh, we play, we love, we dance, and we truly enjoy every minute we're together. There are seriously days that I think, "I cannot believe that I get to live with this man and do life with him at my side." He treats me like a princess. He dotes on me, surprises me, makes me laugh, encourages me, prays for me, listens to me. I could go on forever. My marriage is the biggest blessing in my life and I just can't complain about anything else because if I got nothing I wanted for the rest of my life, but get to be married to Crockett Thompson, I still win. And I still do get things I want. Every day. Too often I get lost in "whoa is me, I want a baby and a job" but I have such a full and rich life. Getting Jesus is all I need in life and yet He's given me Himself, Crockett, and so much more. I am just so overwhelmed by His goodness sometimes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The saddest thing they've told me yet

Well 2 weeks ago I had an OB appointment with the 3rd doctor. His bedside manner is not my favorite, but beggars can't be choosers and living in the middle of nowhere makes you a beggar when it comes to choices in doctors.

At first we were discussing what the next step in our fertility treatments would be when he noticed my blood disorders in my chart. His entire demeanor changed and he told me bluntly that what I have is very dangerous and I am at a high risk of developing a blood clot, and if I were to become pregnant I would be at a very significant risk of developing a fatal pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs.) He said I needed to immediately stop trying to become pregnant and needed to see a hematologist right away to discuss my risks. His words were, "It may not be safe for you to ever become pregnant."

Well that was not a fun day. I told Crockett, my mom, & my sister, but decided not to tell anyone else anything until I met with the hematologist and knew for sure what I was facing. I was scared, but desperately seeking God's peace. I'm not afraid to die, but the idea of not being able to have a child myself made me sad. Not for myself, but for my husband. I'm ok with the idea of never having our own children. I just want to love a child and raise him or her to love Jesus. I don't care if that child genetically belongs to me or not, but I know how bad my husband wants a son and I desperately want to give him that.

I talked to my sister about surrogacy and she said she'd do it for us if we needed. Not that we can even remotely afford it right now, but I have to admit knowing I have that option one day is really nice. 

Well 2 VERY long weeks later I finally saw the hematologist. I won't say he wasn't the sweetest old man ever, but he cursed multiple times in our appointment and the first thing he said was, "I just want to know why the hell you were even tested for this." o.O I have 2 mutations, Factor 5 Liden & MTHFR. He basically said that MTHFR is pointless to even know about because it means nothing. He also said that the Factor 5 increases my risk for a blood clot from .3% chance per year to .9- 1.2% chance per year which is not enough to treat or even be concerned about. Every woman's risk for clotting increases when they become pregnant and mine would also increase, but slightly higher, yet still not significantly enough to worry about. He said the only thing I need to do is common sense practice to avoid clotting like not cross my legs when sitting, stop every hour or so on road trips to stretch my legs, stay active (o goody), etc. He said he would in no way suggest I shouldn't have children and was very nonchalant about it all. 

I've decided that this is good news, but considering that my cousin and sister's doctors warned them about other things that my doctor did not, I've decided to get a second opinion. We're still going to keep trying because I really do believe that my risk isn't bad enough to avoid pregnancy, but I also am going to heed the warnings my cousin's doctor gave her while trying to conceive until I can get a second opinion.

So that's that. I'm not going to blame Michigan doctors, but I've had more conflicting doctor's reports in the last 8 months here than I've had in my whole life. It stinks, but what can I do? So we're still trying for a baby and also moving forward with our licensing for foster/adoption (until next time when they tell us something else shocking and probably not true.) 

In other news, after 25 years I met a candy bar I could not finish. Yes, it's true. I bought a Milky Way Simply Caramel and it was so rich I had to save half of it for later. :O

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Licensing: Step 1

Adoption Orientation went great. We learned SO much, and the next step is to get licensed. A big part of that is completing a home study. We've been assigned an adoption worker who will begin our home study this month some time. Hopefully all will go down without a glitch. I really don't foresee any reason we won't qualify, but we do have work to do. We have to make our home child-ready starting with locking up the guns and medicines, then furnishing our kid's room! The licensing process can take as little as 4 months if we are super quick to turn in all the paperwork and we pass everything the first time and our case worker is a super fast home study writer. (The home study will be 50+ pages!) Our estimated time, however, is that a child would be in our home sometime in 2014.

The adoption road we've chosen is to adopt a child through DHS who is currently waiting for a forever family. There's a few reasons we chose this path. The parents' rights have already been terminated so there would be no court proceedings and no waiting or wondering if we'll get to adopt. This also means that our child would probably be over the age of 5. And the very best part of adopting through DHS is that the process is completely free.

All the children who are currently available for adoption are photo-listed on a website called MARE. Here's the link if you're interested in browsing through the babes. Right now there is a little girl available for adoption who I have pretty much fallen head over heals for. I am praying that she will still be available when we get licensed, but at the same time I hope she gets out of foster care soon. She deserves her forever family! (I just hope it's with us!)

(Isn't she just the cutest thing? Go read her bio on the link and then tell me she wasn't born to be my daughter.)

-Here are some things you can pray for us about:
-That we would continue to seek God's will throughout this process and at no point in time diverge from His plan.
-That our home study would be completed without any problems.
-That I would get the elementary teaching position next school year (at the school our child will attend) so we can provide for all our child's needs and be even more financially secure than we are now.
- That God would begin working in our child's heart, softening any resentment and healing all past hurt, preparing them for our family. 
-That Crockett and I would stand firm on God's promises and not lose sight of His plan in spite of the resistance we've already begun to feel and most certainly will continue to encounter.
- That we would exhibit patience and love to those who don't understand.

Thank you, friends! We are so blessed to know how gigantic our support system is. We absolutely cannot wait to introduce our child to you.

The promise I can't wait to claim:
"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him." I Samuel 1:27

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Big News!

I'm so excited to announce that Crockett and I are starting the adoption process!

After 18 unsuccessful months of trying to get pregnant we have decided to pursue adoption. We are still in the very beginning stages and by no means will have a child in our home instantly. We are still praying about which adoption path to proceed with and have an orientation tomorrow that will give us more information about our options. 

We always knew we wanted to adopt one day, but we had imagined that we'd have natural children first. Now that we're learning life doesn't play out by our laid out plans we are seeking what God would have for us concerning parenthood. We are incredibly nervous & excited. This is brand new territory for both of us and we are leaning completely on the Lord's direction. 

I had to come to a point where I let go of having a child naturally. We are absolutely still trying and I'm going to continue my medication and then see a specialist when the time comes, but I had to come to the very difficult realization that I am not in charge of this. I had a serious rant at God and dealt with anger and sadness for a while. I have felt like I've been on an emotional roller coaster. One month I'm content and the next I'm eager and anxious. I still struggle to daily give up my desires for my life to God, but I can say that the Lord has worked in my heart and lead me to a peaceful place. I am asking literally every day that God would give me contentment in my present while seeking to better my future. I am working towards quite a few things right now:
- Getting pregnant
- Adopting a child
- Finding a teaching job
- Moving
- Getting my permanent Michigan certification
- Paying off debt/meeting my financial goals
- Losing the last 10 pounds

Most days I feel incredibly stretched thin, but I am praying for peace in the moment and the ability to trust God on faith alone. I can't wait to share with you as we go along this new journey into adoption. 

Romans 8:14-16
"For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, "Abba, Father."For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children."

Friday, March 8, 2013

A hysterosalpingogram & Job

Today was a rough one.

We did get some good news, but I need to catch you up first. Last week I had my first appointment with the new doctor. Doctor 1 was great and I'm sure he is a competent OB, but he had no sense of urgency. When my test results were confusing or conflicting he didn't seem too concerned with finding the answers. I had to request blood work (which is supposed to be monitored frequently when being treated for infertility) and I did not get calls back about my results half the time. The receptionists would always try to answer my medical questions instead of transferring me to the doctor or his nurse and one of them even argued with me that certain medicines didn't exist after I went to the pharmacy first to make sure they were in stock. (They were.)

So all this lead us to Doctor 2 who is much closer to our house! Yay! This doc definitely wants some answers. He immediately scheduled me for a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) (you can read all about the procedure here) and ordered Crockett to be tested for a sperm analysis. He also changed my medication plan. Doc 1 wanted to have me on 50 mg of fertility drugs for 3 cycles and then if that didn't work he'd up it to 100 mg for 3 cycles and then finally 150 mg for 3 cycles. If you didn't pass 1st grade that's 9 cycles which is equivalent to a whole year of trying medication before moving on to another option! (My cycles are ~40 days) Doc 2 said, "No way, Jose!" I have unsuccessfully completed 2 cycles of 50 mg so next cycle we start 100 mg and if that doesn't work we move to 150 mg (this cycle was medication free as I needed to have the HSG done and you CANNOT be pregnant for that) and if that doesn't work we get referred to a fertility specialist. (The closest one is 1.5 hrs away.)

So Crockett is having his analysis done later in the month and I had my procedure today. WORST. PAIN. OF. MY. LIFE.

I knew it was going to hurt. My doctor told me to take 800 mg of motrin an hour before the procedure. I am a member of an online community of women trying to conceive and I asked them about it. Every single one of them told me it was going to hurt. A lot. I read about the procedure and knew what to expect, but I could not have prepared myself for the pain I felt.

Thankfully I had an amazing nurse who held my hand and put a wet washcloth on my head when the sweat and nausea arrived. The instant I felt the pain my stomach began to revolt inside my body. I honestly thought I was going to throw up right there on the table. My heart started racing. I was sweating bullets. And all the pressure made me feel like I was going to pee myself. My doctor had previously told me the procedure lasts about an hour so when I felt the pain I immediately looked at my nurse with what I'm sure was a completely terrified expression and asked, "Is it going to feel like this the whole time?!" She said she didn't know, but within ten minutes the procedure was over. She told me to lay still for a few minutes before getting up. I'm sure I was as white as a sheet. After a few moments I sat up and instantly felt like I was going to lose my breakfast. I laid back down and the nurse brought me juice & crackers. After 10 minutes or so I sat back up and felt better. I got dressed and went on my way. I went to work and within an hour and a half I felt the cramps my doc warned me about. It is equivalent to the worst menstrual cramps I've ever had. I am on a 4 hr/400 mg motrin regiment and will be until this pain passes. I'M SO GLAD IT'S FRIDAY. I am currently in comfy pants and fuzzy socks and plan on planting myself in the movie room with all my birthday movies. (Breaking Dawn pt 2, Wreck it Ralph, Brave, & Pitch Perfect.)

The good news is that the results of the procedure are good and normal. My Fallopian tubes are both open and my uterus looked open and normal. So I've had my ovaries, tubes, uterus, & ovulation checked out and all are healthy. Now we wait for Crockett's results and continue to pray God gives us the joy & pleasure of parenthood.

After the procedure I experienced a rush of unexpected emotion. I was flooded with feelings of "How long are we going to do this?" "When will we draw the line and accept that having a baby isn't in the plan for us?" "How many cycles will God keep shutting the door before we listen?" The further in this journey we get the more painful (physically & emotionally) it's becoming. Each step of bad or no news I find myself more and more upset. I guess each new attempt we try I unknowingly get my hopes up higher than before as if we're narrowing down problems. Surely this time we'll get some answers. Surely this cycle has to be it. We've done our time. We've told our story. We've been a witness. Now it's time for the joyful conclusion & testament to God's faithfulness & love right?

Even though this procedure technically delivered good news it's difficult for me. I almost want to find a problem. Because at least then I'd have an answer. If we saw a problem we could begin fixing it and then we'd have a shot. If nothing is wrong with either of us then there is nothing we can do but pray. Not that prayer is a bad option, but you know what I mean. I want physical, explainable answers.

I know that I am not the Creator of life. God is. And if/when he wants to create life in me he will, regardless of properly working parts. But the longer I walk this path the more the fear begins to settle into my heart. What if God has no intention of giving me children? What if we aren't called to be parents? That's the ultimate fear. And I'm trying to fight Satan when he whispers these things because the lie he's telling me is that God doesn't want me to be happy, that he doesn't trust me with kids, that his plans for me aren't good. I know those are LIES. I have not lost sight of the loving and faithful father I have. I do find my peace in his promises. I do trust in his unfailing love. His grace is absolute & sufficient, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't hurt. I have my moments where all I can do is cry. Cry out to God and scream, "I do believe! Help my unbelief!" I have found myself praying, "Why? Why God? I trust you and I love you, but this hurts. You know how much I want a baby. You know how much this hurts. I know you are good, but I need you to hold me because this hurts more than anything else I've experienced."

Today I heard a mini sermon on the radio about Job. O Job... I've experienced the tip of his iceberg and I'm already feeling like we're bffs...
Job cried out to God asking why he had forsaken him and given him all the hardships that he had.
Here's a summed up version of his conversation with God.

"Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?
He who argues with God, let him answer it.”
Then Job answered the Lord and said:
“Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you?
I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further.”

How humbling! After I pondered this I really felt God (lovingly) saying, "Pipe down, little one. You. Don't. Have. A. Clue."

And man is it true. I don't have a clue what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds tomorrow and that's all I need to know to make my heart sing with praise & gratitude. I am blessed beyond measure simply because I belong to the Redeemer. O, my God, how amazing & good you are!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Clomid: 0/2

This cycle started out very hopeful. I had taken my second round of Clomid to ensure I would ovulate & sure enough I did in the middle of Crockett's 7 day off stretch and our timing was perfect. We were both pretty sure this was going to be the month we found out we were expecting our baby. But eleven days post ovulation I had a blood test and today I called my doctor and found out I am not pregnant.

I called the doctor on my way home from work and was planning to stop by the store on my way home to gather my "telling Crockett" supplies. When the receptionist told me the news my initial response was sadness. I cried the entire way home. When I got home I told Crockett and he handled things much better. He's been such a rock, confident in God's plan when I'm drowning in sorrow and doubting the good in store for us.

After many tears and hugs we ventured into town to pick up Mo. Poor little guy had surgery today on his 3rd birthday. (Surgery went well & he's recovering now. He should be back to his old self with a sturdier, healthier back leg in a few weeks.) We stopped at Walmart and grabbed a bite to eat at one of the few restaurants we rarely get to visit. The entire trip into public was a constant battle with my tear ducts. Crockett and I were talking about what we wanted to do next and just encouraging each other and the tears were always on the edge, threatening to spill over and ruin my make-up.

On the way home MercyMe's "You Are I Am" came on and the tears made their grand appearance at last. Worshiping with a broken heart is such a unique experience. As much as I question and doubt and am upset I still know that every word is true. God is still good. His love for me is still greater than I could ever know. His love for my children is infinite. The desire he placed in me to be a mother is still his calling. And his sovereignty is undeniable. He is the God who conquers giants, calls out kings, shuts the mouth of lions, tells the dead to breathe, walks through fire, takes the orphan's hand. He is the Messiah and is able to give me a baby. I just need to rest in his perfect timing even when I don't understand it.

Today I am sad, but I am also hopeful. 

In other news I will be changing doctors because of the total lack of communication/care given by my current doctor, but that's a post for another time. The first appointment with the new guy is next week. I'll update when I see what we're workin with!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Valentine's Day Recap


How long have you and your significant other been together?
4 years 4 months

How did you meet?
At our high school's homecoming football game.

If married, how long have you been married?
Valentine's Day was 2 and a half years to the day!

If you are married, where did you get married? Big or small wedding? 
We were married in my home church in Houston, TX. I'd say it was a medium wedding.
Our wedding party

Do you have any nicknames that you call one another?
Snuggly wuggly, poopsie woopsie, etc. ;)

Name 3 things you love most about your honey:
1. He is a servant of Christ.
2. He is a good man.
3. He loves me unconditionally.

Tell us how he proposed?
After dinner at one of my favorite places he asked me to meet him at his old apartment. (He was moving out of one and into another.) It was empty of furniture, but filled with candles, flowers, and wine when I arrived. He got down on one knee in front of the fireplace and asked me to be his best friend forever.
One of our engagement pictures.

Is he a flowers and teddy bear kind of guy for v-day, or strawberries, champagne, and rose petals?
Both! This is why I'm so blessed. He's a whatever she wants kind of guy.

Are you a sunset dinner on the beach kind of girl, or pop a movie in and relax on the couch?
Definitely movie/couch.

Tell us one thing you'd like to do with your significant other one day. If you could do anything? Go anywhere?
Raise babies into bold men & women of God.

Tell us what you did on this Valentine's Day.
Well hubs was on duty so I brought cupcakes to him at the station. :)

What did you get for Valentine's day?
Dove truffles, a sweet card, and my second wedding bad.
My second band :)

Give us one piece of advice for keeping a relationship strong and full of love.
Keep Christ center above all else.

Show us a picture of what love means to you:
The greatest love of all time.

Monday, February 4, 2013

8 Things That Make My Marriage Rock

PREFACE: In no way do I claim to be an expert in marriage. I hold one bachelor's degree in education and I have only been in one marriage to one man. I know your situation is different from my mine. I have only been married for two and a half years, but these are things I have learned in that short time. Some of these lessons I learned the hard way, others I have been fortunate enough to learn through teachers, preachers, mentors, & God's word. The evidence I have of the success of these methods is a wonderful, fun, loving, & exciting marriage. I am more in love now than I ever have been. To God be the glory.

1. Pray instead of nag. Every husband (& wife for that matter) has areas that need some improving. Whatever your husband's is instead of constantly complaining about it to him pray that God would work in his heart and stir up a desire to seek Him about it. Make sure to compliment any progress you notice. :)

2. Make an effort to do things he likes. I struggle with this one, but I definitely try. Is your husband super outdoorsy and you're not? Does he prefer to play games where you like to sit and talk? Does he like to go out and you enjoy staying in? Every once in a while step outside your comfort zone just to make sure he knows you love him and are willing to sacrifice your desires so that he can enjoy himself. Take the lead and plan fun dates he'll enjoy.

3. Praise him! "Encouragement in the mouth of a woman is like fire in the soul of a man."- Matt Chandler Nothing validates a man like the praise of his wife. Compliment your man on everything from his appearance to his leadership. Notice him working extra hard at work? Tell him! See him go out of his way to be a good friend/dad/brother/etc? Tell him! This can make a world of difference in your marriage.

4. Let him lead you. I know we like to think of ourselves as the real boss, but ladies let me just tell you: We're not. We weren't designed to be. And yes it does suck. In fact, one of the consequences of the fall of mankind was that we would struggle against our husbands' leadership and we would desire to be in charge. (Genesis 3:16) I used to think this meant I only had to let my husband make the big decisions, but this isn't true. He is the head of our house in all areas. When your husband knows you trust his leadership you'll be surprised to see how often he shares his control with you and listens to your opinions.

5. Spice it up! Men and women typically have very different sex drives and more often than not many marriages take a sad turn in this department. Sex is not a chore. It can be very fun and exciting (even on a regular basis.) When you're not in the mood make an effort to get in the mood. If your man is not satisfied at home think about how much harder it will be for him to resist temptation. Not that there is any excuse for infidelity, but I'm just saying... Men have needs. Don't take for granted that he wants you to be the one to satisfy those needs. Check out this website for amazing date ideas and super fun ways to spice up your marriage.---> The Dating Divas

6. Apologize. This one is so simple, yet can be so difficult. We're women. We go off the deep end sometimes, and our men should expect that, but that doesn't mean we don't need to apologize. No matter what time of the month it is when you are wrong or you handle a situation wrong, tell him. Admit your error and ask for forgiveness. Work out a plan to avoid it next time and ask God to help you grow in that area.

7. Check in. Make a point to ask your hubby how you're doing. Ask him if there is something you can pray for him about. Ask if there is anything you can do to ease his stress or help him. Ask him where he'd like to see you improve as a wife and ask him to commit to praying with you over that specific area. Then do it. Make a real effort to meet his needs. If he asks you to work on something you think is just fine the way it is stop and think. Pray about it. And do whatever you can to become better in that area. No one is perfect and we can all do better.

8. Keep Christ center. "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:12 If you are seeking God in all you do and your husband is seeking God in all he does you will be fine. That's not to say it won't be difficult or that you'll never wish you weren't married. Because those days will be plenty. But if you seek God's will for your marriage then you will get through it. The worst days will pass into the best days. Christ's plan for marriage is that it would mirror the relationship between himself and his bride, the church. Christ never gives up on his church and his church does not walk away from him when things are rough. The bride clings to Christ at all times, in all circumstances, and Christ died to save his church. What a beautiful picture marriage is to reflect.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Things

"And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:19

God is so good. He is so faithful and I knew he'd come through. In December I applied to be the part-time secretary at Oscoda High School and right before I left for my trip to Houston I was called in to do some computer testing (Word, Excel, etc.).  Then while in Katy I received a phone call from the principal saying he'd like to interview me. He was gracious enough to do a Skype interview since I was out of town and I am so incredibly grateful he did. I know God's hand was all over this situation because he told me afterward that they had never done an interview via Skype before. The following day I was offered the job! :D

I am so excited to start next week. The times in my life where I was a secretary were so much fun. I genuinely loved my jobs and enjoyed the people I worked with. I am so overjoyed about this opportunity and how good my God is. I desperately needed an income and God delivered right on time. (As usual.)

New job = AMAZING
New nephew = MIRACULOUS

Brody Andrew Westmoreland

Can you believe my sister made this perfection? 

My Noah is a big brother! 

They're so matchy matchy. 

PS. All nephews love Mickey the mouse. Even nephew cats. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Lord Send Me

This song has become a sort of mantra for me. Actually quite a few have, but I just love the lyrics to this one. 

"Here I Am" by Downhere

Here I am, Lord send me,
All of my life, I make an offering, 
Here I am, Lord send me, 
Somehow my story, Is part of your plan, 
Here I am

When setbacks and failures, and upset plans, 
Test my faith and leave me with empty hands, 
Are you not the closest when it's hardest to stand?
I know that you will finish what you began.

These broken parts you redeem, 
Become the song, that I can sing

Overwhelmed by the thought of my weakness, 
And the fear that I'll fail you in the end, 
In this mess, I'm just one of the pieces, 
I can't put this together but you can.

Sometimes you know the truth and you know God is good and you have to sing his praises while the tears are pouring out.  I have faith that God will make much of himself through my situation because he is the only one who can make beautiful things out of mess. And I am truly a mess. God is good and his love for me is unfathomable. Even though I asked to be sent and I truly meant it, it doesn't mean that it isn't painful. I know God sent me to Michigan and I am glad to be a part of his plan. So until the plan is completely revealed I will praise him. Even as my heart is breaking I will scream his praises!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Walking Through Fire

Sometimes God allows me to walk through fire and although I know that my situation will bring glory to God in the end it has become a huge lesson in endurance. Things have been so difficult lately that there have been days that I have just called out to God asking for him to return. It has become aware to me that this should be my heart always, not just in struggles. Even on the very best day here I should still recognize that heaven will be better. I should never lose sight of that, never get caught up in this life without constant hope for Christ's return.

As I walk through this season of tears and struggle I am clinging deeply to my Father and the joy I have in Christ. Otherwise, I would suggest someone have me committed. ;)

Thanks to Michigan and it's lack of sun I have developed a vitamin D deficiency making me exhausted all day and also giving me the "winter blues." I'm depressed and that's really hard for me to admit because I have been there before 5 years ago and I really was hoping not to be back again. The good news is that I've begun a vitamin regiment that will hopefully correct this VERY soon. The better news is that no matter what situation I'm in God is sovereign.

I have also been suffering at the hand of the terrible Michigan economy. I have applied to well over a dozen places from Rite Aid, Kmart, Family Video, Dollar General, secretary positions at various medical clinics, teaching positions at every elementary school within 50 miles & the one daycare in the area. I am technically employed by the substitute agency, but I have not received one call or job offer. My loans are officially in full repayment so as each month passes our savings is drained more and more and now we are in a state of urgency. I know God has a plan and he promises to provide for our needs. I'm deeply looking forward to witnessing the miracle he pulls to get us out of this. (I've recently contacted my loan companies and I've been able to significantly reduce my monthly payments. Praise Jesus! However, the gas and electric companies really don't care that I'm unemployed.)

The third situation going on that makes me cry a lot would be all this trouble trying to conceive (TTC). If you're one who doesn't want to hear about conception and ovulation just skip this paragraph and know it's not a fun pool to swim in. So you'd think after 16 months of trying without success I'd be used to disappointment right? Well you're wrong. On December 12 I began my first round with the fertility drug Clomid and I was CONVINCED it was going to work. I had eagerly calculated every possible due date and was preparing my body for pregnancy with prenatal vitamins (I've actually been on these since the beginning of TTC), folic acid, baby aspirin (I take this because of a blood disorder to encourage my body not to clot a baby), plenty of water and sleep, no alcohol or caffeine, etc. I had decided how I was going to announce my pregnancy to everyone from my husband to my mom & sis to facebook. I used a home ovulation prediction kit (OPK) and tested every day to see when my body was ovulating. I finally got a positive on Jan. 1 and was so excited as we had thought there was a chance that my body wasn't ovulating at all. But here I am not pregnant. (Some of you more experienced gals will probably say it's too early to tell, but...) I do not feel pregnant at all. I've already had a few negative tests and I have no symptoms of early pregnancy. In fact I have a few symptoms of normal PMS. (Like being emotional, but I told you I'm depressed so it's hard to know what's related and what isn't.) And the strongest reason I'm convinced I'm not pregnant is a gut feeling or "mother's intuition." This disappointment is so much greater than I expected. My first reaction was, "I want to stop trying." I never wanted to feel this way again. (Again, the depression isn't helping me sort through any of this...) I even told Crockett I was so discouraged and felt sure that I would never be pregnant. I told him we should stop trying because it's never going to happen and it's just going to break my heart each cycle when I'm not. (I've been a REAL joy to live with these past few weeks. Can you tell?) I had given up. But then there are days when I'm hopeful that it will happen one day and that God is just watching out for me. I've heard his constant reassurance in my quiet time and in Bible study, church, and Sunday school. Over and over the message has been this: God is sovereign and he knows what he's doing. I know nothing about my life and what's best for it. God knows what's coming and he prepares me for it the best way possible. I need to trust in his timing and be at peace with his plan.

While this is something I know in my heart, it hasn't been easy putting it to application every day. I've had to constantly drown myself in worship and the word to feel relief from my sadness. I am so incredibly thankful that I have this joy and hope. If I didn't have the Lord through this I seriously don't know how I'd be sane. How do people who don't trust God with their future deal with this? Where is their comfort? I cannot fathom it.

And the most painful thing I've experienced so far during this season of fire... my sister's divorce. How can someone else's divorce have an effect on me you ask? Well, she is my little sister and when she is hurting I either need to fix the problem or comfort her. In this situation I can do neither. And the second part to this pain I feel is outrage which is coming from blatant disregard for God and his commands. The sin that is happening is making me want to pull my hair out! My sister is walking through the most difficult thing she has ever faced and I'm 30 hrs away. The amount of disgusting sin that is playing out during this whole process makes me want to act and I can't, nor would it help. I want to grab these people in my sister's life and shake them until they repent. I want to yell at them with explicit vocabulary until they see the truth. I want to forcefully move them out of the country. I have even dreamed about how much easier it would be if some of them just somehow died. I know!! That's terrible! But now you know the extent of my anger. I'm not just annoyed or bothered, I actually feel murderous. (I have repented of this and am begging the Spirit on a DAILY basis to give me grace to deal with these people. I'm also living in a constant state of reminding myself, "But by grace go I." I did nothing to avoid ending up like these people. The fact that I am saved and see my sin and strive not to live in rebellion has NOTHING to do with me and my awesomness. Every ounce of grace I have I received from Christ. He saved me. He continually reveals my sin. He has forgiven me and He alone gets the glory.)

One more thing that hasn't been fun: a ridiculous sleep pattern. For some reason about a month ago I got into a bad habit/pattern of staying awake till 3-5am and sleeping till 2-4pm. No matter what I did I couldn't break it. I'd set my alarm to wake up early, stay awake all day hoping I'd be tired enough to fall asleep at a decent hour only to be wide awake until 3am. I'd force myself to get in bed at 10pm only to lay there tossing and turning for hours. But I can finally report that (I think) this problem has been solved. I have been praying before bed that God would grant me peaceful sleep, (When I was sleeping it was AWFUL. Waking every few hours and having bad dreams.) and the past week or so has been great. I have been asleep before midnight and awake before noon. :) One of the things helping (besides prayer) is turning our bedroom back into a normal room and not a cave. Ever since we got married Crockett has needed/wanted black-out curtains in our bedroom. Now that the sunlight (what little there is) reaches my room I am waking up!

During the peak of all this yuck in my life, husband was on a 14 day duty stretch which was AWFUL. If they gave out awards to the best military wives can I just tell you how many ways I would NOT get that award? I was beyond frustrated. Not at Crockett, but at the situation which manifested itself in the form of anger and resentment to the Coast Guard. The CG stationed us in stupid Michigan where there is no sun and no jobs. The CG put me 1500 miles away from my family when they need me and I need them. The CG made my husband work 14 days in a row (during ovulation when we're trying to conceive). Never mind that we volunteered for this, they give us excellent benefits, my husband makes twice as much money as he was making at his previous job, and he could be gone for months at a time, not just days. There was absolutely no silver lining during this time. I was determined to blame the CG and could not be reasoned with. I have seen the light and realize it isn't the CG's fault. This is just a season of my life that is difficult, but with every season I will give praise to the God of glory. I will walk with him who loves me through this storm and I know at the end of it I will be closer to my God and know him more intimately which makes all this yuck mercy in disguise.

So I have been jobless, depressed, barren, outraged, and alone. Pray for me would ya?

In the midst of this fire here is the truth that I'm standing on:
-God is good and faithful.
-My husband adores me.
-My sister is SAFE in her Father's hand.
-God will stand up for her when no one else does.
-God's vengeance will be greater than  mine. Justice WILL be served.
-Joy and hope are not found on this earth.
-My life and what becomes of it is not about me.
-Having a job and being a mother are not my purposes in life.
-No matter how long Crockett is gone he will come home eventually.
-This too shall pass.
-I'm NOT home yet.

This was a long one; congrats for making it through!